Keeping Running Memorabilia

As I continue to unpack my new house and put things on the wall, I have been thinking a lot lately.

I keep all of my race numbers, medals and awards. Not only do I keep them but I display all of them proudly.

Race bibs
(This is just my 2015 race bibs displayed)

Sure some might think it’s more of a hoarding thing.

And sure some races give out the same red, white and blue #1medal.

Some people might think it’s excessive and many runners donate their finishing medals or throw away their bibs.

Heck, some races give out no medals at all. I recently ran the Festival of Races 5k in Syracuse, NY.  I received no medal or trophy, and that was fine. I don’t race for the awards. I don’t cherry pick races based on what sort of “free things” I can accumulate.  I run races because I truly enjoy them, and I enjoy supporting friends and the local community.

Each race contains a memory good or bad. Throughout my five years of running, I’ve raced a lot. I’ve blogged throughout most of it, so it’s easy for me to look back and reflect on the good, bad and the ugly.

I’ve had some of the best races of my life like the Nike Women’s half marathon or the Lake Effect half marathon.


I’ve run some of the worst races of my life like the Turning Stone half or the Haddon Hearts 5k last year.  Despite both of those races being miserable, I finished healthy, and I never looked back.  They were just a memory that running is hard and not every race is a dream race.

Regardless of the race time, every bib number, award or medal is a memory of something. They are a memory of doing something I enjoy. Sure I could donate half of the red, white and blue strung 5k finishing medals I have but I don’t want too.  I don’t like to take for granted finishing every race.

When I toe the starting line of a race, a race goal of mine is always to finish healthy.

You never know what can happen the moment after the gun or air horn goes off.  The expected quickly becomes the unexpected.

I will continue to collect my running finishers medals, trophies, bibs and memories. Each race finished is a reminder that my body is strong and healthy.

Questions for you:
Do you keep race numbers or finishers medals?  
What is your favorite and least favorite race to date? 

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  1. I keep everything – and I’m so glad to hear you do too. Those are memories for me. However, I think you are right…it miiiiight be a little on the side of hoarding 🙂

    I don’t display my bibs, but I do have them all. I was thinking about doing a photo album or something with them. All of my medals are displayed on some hooks. They are in my guest room right in front of the treadmill. Its a nice reminder of my goals when I’m running on the dreaded ‘mill.

  2. I only have a handful of bibs but it was funny because the other day I needed a safety pin and I couldn’t find one ANYWHERE and then I remembered I had some still on my race bibs. They totally came in handy 😉 haha

  3. I keep all of my race bibs for sure! I haven’t run too many races (5Ks) that give out medals but when they do, and I get them, I keep them.Years down the road, I’ll be able to look back on all of the things I set my mind to and accomplished, that’s how I look at it.

  4. “They were just a memory that running is hard and not every race is a dream race.” I needed this today, coming off of my weekend! Thanks for the reminder. I keep my medals and my bibs from my marathons! And, of course, awards 🙂

  5. I do have most of my bibs, my medals and trophies I keep and half them hanging on the wall I my room.
    The best part about the race is not the medals,but being out there running with a lot of great runners, weather I have a good or bad race it great to meet and talk to other athletes after the race.
    Umm I’d say my worst race is wildwood half, I cramped up at mile 10 and had to stop and run the rest of the way.
    Best run .jeremy Kane in cherry hill, I hit my PR IN 5K 18:41
    Happy running hollie..

  6. I keep everything and had been keeping up with organizing it until a couple years ago. I have a nice little “ego wall,” and catching up with what still needs to be organized will be a nice “snow day” project.

    I don’t really have “least favorite” race. It is hard enough as it is sometimes without (for me) finding something to dislike. I’ve definitely had some struggles here and there! I take a favorite thing away from each one of them I do. For the last one – Twin Cities Marathon last month – it was the beautiful course and the fact that I FINALLY got my fueling nailed so that I never hit the wall.

    1. That’s true. I always try to find a positive from each race I’ve done…some it’s a little harder to find than others!

  7. I keep all my bibs and my medals. I’m proud of my medals, I like seeing them on the wall. When I’m having a bad day, they remind me that I’m capable of doing some pretty awesome things.

  8. I keep everything – no shame in that!

    Favorite – Columbus Marathon – everything was perfect from the expo, water stops, volunteers, course crowd control, porto-pottys, music, everything.

    Least favorite – Broke Mans Half – you get what you pay for! A $25 half meant no shirt which I was okay with – the medal was a cut out state of ohio tied to a string which we use as coasters now, however only 1 water stop was horrible.

  9. I keep the bibs as reminders and I try to keep them in order so I can look back and see what I’ve been up to. My last two bibs have been on trails and I think they’ve been my funnest and most favorite races to date, and they have the cutest bibs with trees on them.

  10. I don’t have any races under my belt, but given my tendency to keep a lot of things from special events, I can imagine that I’d absolutely keep all my bibs and medals. And it’s funny because I absolutely hate clutter and constantly want to throw things away, but those sentimental ones are hard to let go of.

  11. I keep mine but haven’t found the right way to display them yet. At the last half marathon I ran my friend was wearing a running tank top that was made up of images of all of her race bibs. It was the coolest. She works for a textiles company so they scanned all of the bibs and then designed a fabric out of them. I told her she needs to start selling them!!

    1. That’s a really cool idea. I’ve never heard of screenprinting bibs on a shirt but I might look into that!

  12. I just bought a new medal / bib holder and I LOVE it. It’s a great conversation piece and it’s in my office so I can look at it when I need a pick me up!

  13. I keep all my bib numbers, and I display all my medals and plaques. My wife told me she will make a quilt out of my old race shirts!

  14. I’ve kept all of my bibs and medals, and I turned my prettiest bibs into a bag!, they make all different sizes of bags, and it is awesome to be able to carry my bibs around with me haha. Anytime I’m feeling down, i can look at my bag and be like fuck yeah, i ran all those.

  15. Love your mentality and positive message here. I don’t win any races, but the fact that my body is healthy and can get me to the finish no matter the time is something to be cherished. I’d hate to look back years from now and think that I wasn’t using what I had!

  16. I always keep my medals and race bibs! Right now my bibs are all filed away, but once I get a house I want to display them. Like you said it’s a memory and I’m proud of myself for earning everything!

  17. I always keep my medals (and sometimes my bibs), but I never organize them, so they just end up being junk around the house. Boo for being messy and lazy. 🙁

  18. I keep all my race numbers and have them on a little shower hook. Since I race a lot, each shower hook has a year’s worth of race numbers attached to it. I do write the dates, times, if I place, location, etc on there too. I keep my medals as well, and I write what I place and my time on the back of those with a sharpie, but I do plan to ditch the ribbons from them and turn them into Christmas tree ornaments (gotta get my hands on a silver heating/space blanket for the Christmas tree “skirt” too).

    I have all my race awards as well… in my dorky little running corner of the office. Gotta say the races I do give some fun awards! I don’t do a race for the awards either but it is neat to get something fun or either very useful. Drank my coffee today out of a mug I received at a race.

  19. I keep all of my race stuff, no matter how much anyone makes fun of me for it! Occasionally, I’ll give away a race t-shirt that’s too big for me, but, generally, I keep it around for the memories.

  20. Well apparently I’m an ass because I have cherry picked before- if I know I can get some money out of it, why not. But 99% of the time, yeah I race because it is fun and I love it so I agree on that. I also keep most of my running things, whether it be bibs or medals- each hold memories from those races,the times the people I was with and the training and work that went into each. Some love them and some would rather part with them I don’t see a problem with either.

  21. I never understand how people can donate their medals etc. I’m sure it is very selfless of them, but every race is special to me…even if it went badly.

    My favourite race is still my Great North Run from 2010. I was just in such a good place with everything in my life at that point…and it all went downhill from there.

    Least favourite…hmm, probably the Redcar Half Marathon from 2014 and this year! That race is no good for me and my injury issues, as it’s just a flat, straight line of a course for 13.1 miles. I won’t be running it again!

  22. i love all my bibs and medals, throwing them away or donating them is not an option. you are so right they are memories good or bad they remind you of a time. i am a very nostalgic person anyways but races are just so personal i have to keep the mementos.

  23. Do you write on the back of the bib to recall a special thing about that race or record that race’s time? As you said you have the blog to look back on so maybe not but I was just wondering.

  24. I keep bibs, but not in any useful way. I’ve pinned them haphazardly to a bulletin board. I haven’t done a race that had a finishers medal in ages, so that hasn’t been an issue. I do have quite a few tech shirts from a lot of the races I’ve run. And one race series we do in Cambridge gives pint glasses if you register early enough…so our kitchen cabinet has plenty of pint glasses now! My favorite memento from a race was a fleece jacket (with thumbholes!) that you got if you registered for multiple races in the series (the same series with the pint glasses). It’s cozy and reminds me that I used to run quite a bit! Haven’t been running since my pregnancy (because I’m a slacker, and now because it would be too uncomfortable) but it gives me the motivation to get back into running after the baby is born!

    1. If I ever have children, I don’t think I’ll be running that much during pregnancy either. I can’t wait to see you running again after your baby Stephanie!

  25. I keep all my medals and bibs. The medals are displayed and I have a scrapbook for my bibs. Most races out here don’t offer medals so luckily or unluckily, the medals don’t take up that much space. The wine glasses are trickier, I can’t decide if they should be displayed or used. 🙂

  26. I used to keep all mu bib numbers, but now I just keep the medals as I’m trying to minimise the stuff lying around the house. However my medals all just stay in a box, I think I’ll ask Santa for a medal hanger this year..

  27. Not only do I keep each and every one but I write my finish time, age group and if I won anything! I keep them all hanging in my garage and, when I want to check what a PR is, all I need to do is walk out to the garage 🙂 Keep keeping all your bibs and bling!!

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